Blood Sciences

Update to Glandular Fever Screen

on Sunday, 01 August 2021. Posted in Blood Sciences, Haematology

Please be advised that due to a recent supplier issue there is no availability of the current Glandular Fever test kits used by the Haematology laboratories at Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull Hospital’s for a possible 8 to 12 weeks. In an effort to minimise any disruption to our users we will be verifying a different Glandular Fever screen currently in use at the laboratory in QEH and therefore standardise testing across UHB.  An extension to scope will be submitted for this change in assay with a view to be accredited during the next UKAS assessment in October 2021.

New Analysers Go Live in Biochemistry on the Heartlands Site

on Monday, 06 July 2020. Posted in Blood Sciences, Microbiology, Biochemistry


Abbott Alinity analysers are now in place on the Birmingham Heartlands site to provide biochemistry and serology services.  Assays provided on this site now lie outside our scope of accreditation as assessed by UKAS.  UKAS have been informed and will assess the assays on the new instrumentation as an extension to scope of our accreditation in Autumn 2020. 


Notification of change: New NT-ProBNP assay

on Tuesday, 17 April 2018. Posted in Blood Sciences, Biochemistry

Firstly we would like to apologise for any delay in results you have recently experienced for NT-Pro-BNP. We have had ongoing issues with your current assay.

Abbott Laboratories, who supply our major laboratory biochemistry analysers and reagents, have released their new Alere NT-ProBNP assay. After careful evaluation, we have confirmed that the Alere NT-ProBNP assay is fit for purpose and we will move to measure NT-ProBNP on Wednesday 18th April 2018 .

Due to the assay being continuously available on the routine platform, there should be a dramatic increase in the turnaround times for these results.

There will be no change to reference ranges, with Chronic Heart Failure: National Clinical Guideline for Diagnosis and Management in Primary and Secondary Care: Partial Update (2010) still being used (see below).

>400 but <2000 ng/L: Refer for heart failure specialist assessment and echo (within 6 weeks)

>2000 ng/L: Refer urgently for heart failure specialist assessment and echo (within 2 weeks)

Note: there is no change to specimen handling instructions. Serum separator tube (SST) is the recommended sample type. Further information will be available on the test database

Update on Blood Films

on Thursday, 19 October 2017. Posted in Blood Sciences, Haematology

Blood smears are normally spread and stained using a process on an automated platform which has been accredited to ISO 15189 standards with UKAS. In the event of analyser failure blood smears are manually spread and stained using manual techniques which has been validated against the automated method but is not yet accredited by UKAS. This does not affect the interpretation of the morphology.

Update on Vitamin D analysis

Written by Craig Webster on Tuesday, 15 September 2015. Posted in Blood Sciences, Biochemistry

update: 15/09/2015

Update on Vitamin D analysis

The vitamin D equipment is now fixed and operational. We have now started working through our backlog. We estimate that our backlog is approx 28 days. If you require any further infomation, please contact the laboratory.

Notification of changes to CA19-9

Written by Craig Webster on Tuesday, 10 June 2014. Posted in Blood Sciences, Biochemistry

On Wednesday 11th June the method for the CA19-9 assay at HEFT will change from the Siemens Immulite assay to the Roche assay. Our comparisons have shown that the results are comparable in most cases; however, there were some samples which did show a poor correlation.  We are therefore going to dual report results for a period to allow transition of serially monitored patients to the new CA199 assay.

Further more detailed information is available on request. If you have any queries or comments please contact Craig Webster (Clinical Lead for Blood Sciences) by email or ext 42930.

Laboratory Information System Migration

on Thursday, 29 May 2014. Posted in Blood Sciences, Microbiology, Cellular Pathology, Haematology, Immunology, Biochemistry, General

Laboratory Information System Migration
In order to bring systems in line with the restructured laboratory services the Laboratory Medicine directorate will be migrating to new Laboratory Information System Databases for Blood Sciences and Microbiology.
The migration is due to commence at 8am Monday 2nd June.
No downtime is anticipated but there may be some temporary disruption as the migration progresses.
The Blood Sciences System will replace what is currently the separate disciplines of Chemistry, Haematology and Immunology as a single department. As such the ICE Reporting System will display reports as Blood Sciences (Orange highlighting).

Important Notice re PTH analysis

Written by Craig Webster on Friday, 14 February 2014. Posted in Blood Sciences, Biochemistry

Abbott Diagnostics withdraws PTH assay with Immediate Effect

Important Notice re PTH analysis
Dear Colleague,

Product Recall: Parathyroid hormone (PTH) test

Abbott Laboratories who supply our major laboratory biochemistry analysers and the reagents for the majority of the tests we run on these machines, have issued a global product recall for their parathyroid hormone (PTH) test. We received an initial warning of this recall by phone on 13th February and written confirmation and further details this morning. We have been instructed to stop using their PTH assay immediately and destroy our current stocks of reagent.

Change to HbA1c Reporting

on Wednesday, 28 April 2021. Posted in Blood Sciences, Haematology, Biochemistry

In line with changes to guidelines for reporting and monitoring HbA1c levels, from the 1st June 2021, the HbA1c DCCT % result will no longer be reported, only the IFCC  mmol/mol result. This applies to any HbA1c test being processed at Heartlands, Good Hope or Solihull laboratories and will standardise reporting across the UHB laboratory network.

BD Vacutainer Tube Guide

on Tuesday, 18 September 2018. Posted in Homepage, Blood Sciences

BD Vacutainer Tube Guide

The BD Vacutainer tube guide detailing order of draw and special instruction can be downloaded from the Downloads tab or by clicking here

Delay in Renin Analysis

on Thursday, 02 November 2017. Posted in Blood Sciences, Biochemistry

Dear Colleague,

Ref: Notification of delay in measurement of Renin mass

We have been experiencing supply and quality issues with the kits we use for the determination of Renin Mass. This has led to a back log of samples. Therefore, there will be a delay in reporting of results.

After working with our supplier, we have kits on order that should allow us to work through this backlog and we should be able to start reporting results by the end of next week (10th Of November)

We have samples stored safely and if any are required urgently we can prioritise analysis or send on to another laboratory.

Please accept our apologies and If you would like any further information please contact Craig Webster or Joanne Duffy


Best Wishes

Faecal Calprotectin and Local IBS Guidelines

on Monday, 17 October 2016. Posted in Clinical Advice, Blood Sciences, Biochemistry

Faecal Calprotectin (FCAL) is a protein that is released into the intestines in excess when there is any inflammation. Many people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have unnecessary invasive hospital investigations before their condition is diagnosed. Use of FCAL testing may lead to a reduction in the number of investigations being requested for people with a high likelihood of an IBS diagnosis. This will:

• Improve the patient experience for those with IBS and reduce the number of patients undergoing invasive procedures within secondary care.

• Reduce outpatient referrals into secondary care.

• Increase the numbers accessing rapid diagnosis for IBS/IBD.

• Improve pathways for the management of IBS.

• Provide a structured programme to aid decision making in primary care.


Delay in Vitamin D Analysis

Written by Craig Webster on Monday, 14 September 2015. Posted in Blood Sciences, Biochemistry

Delay in Vitamin D Analysis

Date of update: 14/9/2015

We are experiencing a short delay in the processing and reporting of Vitamin D requests.

We hope to have this situation resolved in the next week and will be working through our backlog as quickly as possible. We will keep updating the web site with our progress.

This is due to problems with the equipment which we are working to resolve as soon as possible. 

If you would like to discuss this further or expedite the measurement of request please contact the duty biochemist on bleep 2506 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Change to Thyroid requesting

Written by Craig Webster on Thursday, 29 May 2014. Posted in Blood Sciences, Biochemistry

Change to Thyroid requesting

As of 27th May 2014 TSH only will be the frontline test for investigating Thyroid function. If the TSH is <0.35 mU/L or >4.9 mU/L a fT4 will be automatically added on to the request. If the TSH is <0.1 mU/L fT3 will also be added. The reason for this is to encourage more appropriate use of the thyroid tests. If you have any queries or concerns please contact the duty biochemist (bleep 2506).

PTH Update

Written by Craig Webster on Tuesday, 04 March 2014. Posted in Blood Sciences, Biochemistry

PTH Update

From 27th February 2014 we will be resuming a PTH service from Heartlands using the Roche intact PTH assay (iPTH).  It is difficult to directly compare results determined from the previous Abbott assay to the Roche assay as the Abbott method had a significant positive bias with respect to Roche, therefore you should expect slightly lower results now.  The reference range for iPTH on the Roche assay is 1.6-6.9 pmol/L. 


Analysis will be batched daily, Monday-Friday.  As previously plasma from EDTA samples is the preferred sample type.  If there is a need for an urgent PTH the current process of contacting the duty biochemist/duty consultant will continue and the urgent pathway implemented. If there are any queries clinicians should contact the duty biochemist/duty consultant.

The laboratories at Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and Solihull Hospital form part of the services provided by University Hospitals Birmingham and are UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) accredited to the ISO 15189:2012 standard. For a list of accredited tests and other information please visit the UKAS website using the following link:

  • Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull Hospital pathology laboratories are a UKAS accredited medical laboratory No.8217
  • United Kingdom Health Security Agency laboratory is a UKAS accredited medical laboratory No.8213

Tests not appearing on the UKAS Schedule of Accreditation currently remain outside of our scope of accreditation. However, these tests have been validated to the same high standard as accredited tests and are performed by the same trained and competent staff.

For further test information, please visit the test database:

Protection of personal information - Laboratory Medicine comply with the Trust Data Protection policy and have procedures in place to allow the Directorate and its employees to comply with the Data Protection act  1998 and associated best practice and guidance.

For further information contact Louise Fallon, Quality Manager, 0121 424 1235